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The 2023 Masonic year started off quietly. Worshipful Brother William Powell once again assumed the east for a second consecutive year, while Worshipful Brothers Tom Thurber (2019, 2020) and Jason Schmitz (2014) continued to serve the lodge as Senior Warden and Treasurer, respectively. The officer line had many new faces by design, in order to build a brighter future for Audubon-Parkside Lodge and the future of Freemasonry.

In January, we once again started meeting again on Friday, in hopes to approve attendance and allow Brothers more time to enjoy fellowship instead of rushing home to prepare for work the next day, the change has been a positive one. We also celebrated the arrival of our new electric piano funded by the Brethren that we will enjoy for years to come. At the end of the month, Worshipful Brother Thurber gave a fantastic presentation on the history of Brother John Paul Jones. Did you know he didn’t receive a Masonic funeral until 2016, 224 years after his death? Neither did we! On the last Wednesday of the month, the Lodge conferred the Fellowcraft degree on Brother Eric Diamonte. 


In February, members of Audubon-Parkside assisted Collingswood-Cloud lodge with the second section of the Master Mason degree at Grand Lodge of Instruction held at Merchantville temple. All Brothers who participated continued to set the bar on ritual excellence. 


In March, the Brethren proved once again that Audubon-Parkside was committed to ritual excellence during our official visit of Right Worshipful Keith Herman, District Deputy Grand Master, and Right Worshipful Ken Carpenter, District ritual instructor.  The Brethren wanted to wear something special since it was St. Patricks day, so some of the officers wore green. Worshipful Brother Powell elected to wear a wool Irish cap, which even though the Brethren said he looked like something out of the “Peaky Blinders” tv show, he decided to make it his permanent Masters hat. Brother Ian Gill was also awarded with the Brearly award by RW Brother Herman, for his activity and service to Masonry in his first 12 months as a Master Mason. At the end of the month, the Entered Apprentice degree was conferred on Brother Bryan Collins. In more supernatural news, Brother Keith Verrico of Laurel Lodge, and Worshipful Brother Powell worked with a professional paranormal investigator to look into some of the strange happenings at the temple and recorded their findings, confirming we are not alone. If you would like to see the evidence, let us know.

In April, the Moorestown-Excelsior Chapter of DeMolay visited the lodge and gave presentations on the history of the DeMolay and the very popular flower talk. It was well received by all, and the young men of the DeMolay did an excellent job. 


In May, Brother Jason Miller was initiated as an Entered Apprentice by a courtesy degree at USS New Jersey lodge. Worshipful Brother Powell conferred the degree from the East. 


In June, the lodge conferred the Master Mason degree on Brother Eric Diamonte and a few Brothers from Campana de Libertad lodge. It was an excellent degree that the Brothers talked about for months after. The lodge also had its annual June BBQ dinner prior to the stated meeting, prepared by Brother Ian Gill, with many Brothers in attendance that had not attended in many many years. The Brethren discussed selling the Audubon Masonic Temple, and becoming a renter elsewhere, in order to have the proper home for the size of the lodge, and set our future Brothers up for success. A committee was formed and would meet over the Summer. 


In September, advanced stations for the 2024 year began.  The committee that was put together in June provided the results of their meetings and research over the Summer, with the Brethren voting to sell Audubon Masonic temple. The Brethren shared stories about their time in the temple, but shared a sentiment of optimism for the future. The lodge conferred the Fellowcraft Degree on Brothers Bryan Collins and Kevin Frysztacki.

In October, the Brethren welcomed two new Master Masons at the statewide one day class at the fellowship center in Burlington, Brother Kevin Frysztacki and Brother Jason Miller. The officers for 2024 were nominated at our stated meeting. We also celebrated Worshipful Brother Steve Kelly’s Gold Token anniversary (50 years) at 18th District Golden Token night at The Estate at Monroe. Worshipful Brother Kelly was joined by family and his Brothers to congratulate him on a successful Masonic career.

In November, the last degree of the year, the Master Mason degree, was conferred on Brother Bryan Collins and Brothers from Campana lodge.

The year was one of growth and fellowship. While the Brethren had to make historic, but difficult decisions, Audubon-Parkside lodge remains strong in its resolve to create a better future for Freemasonry. 


At the end of the year, Audubon had a successful year of growth with

4 newly raised Master Masons
1 dual member

2 affiliations

And sadly lost Brother William Rittmayer.

This concludes my report for the 2023 Masonic year.



Joseph Talarowski
Senior Deacon
Lodge Historian


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